8 Things Christians Need to Do More on Social Media

The Internet doesn't have to be a terrible place.

I’m terrified that because of social media, the entire world can see my words. It means I can hurt more than just the people in front of me every time I choose to not live like Jesus.

But what I’ve come to discover is, many people don’t realize this cost. We still treat social media as if it is an exemption from being responsible for our words and actions.

We need to get over the power that makes us feel we can say whatever we want on social media, and instead embrace the power to say what only builds up. When we are doing this, we can use social media as a tool for change—something that would honor the life of Jesus rather than shame it.

It truly is possible to live and love like Jesus on social media. It is possible to glorify God with our social media activity. We just need a few guidelines to point us in the right direction:

1. Strive for Connection, not Attention.

There are two kinds of social media users: one who goes on with a “look at me!” perspective, and one who goes on with a “let’s connect” perspective. Social media was made for the latter.

This doesn’t mean you can’t share your work with others online. This just means you shouldn’t use likes and comments as validation for yourself. Aim to connect instead.

2. Be Transparent, but not too Transparent.

Jesus revealed personal information to His disciples, not to everyone. This means we should strive to be transparent with those who love us and gather around us in real life. While social media opens our lives to the entire world, the entire world doesn’t need to know about everything. Be transparent, but mostly with your close friends in real life.

3. Ask Yourself: Could I Say This Same Thing in Front of Someone?

Social media distances us from the impact of our words. We could say things and then walk away from our keyboard, being blind to how others react to them.

But just because we can’t see the impact of our words in real life doesn’t mean our words don’t make a splash. If we’re saying things that aren’t words we would say in front of someone’s face, then we shouldn’t say them at all.

4. Don’t Buy into the “Say What Needs to be Said” Culture.

On social media, everyone is “saying what needs to be said.” But when everyone is doing this, it’s hard to filter what actually needs to be said. A better way to get across a message is to say what needs to be said, but also live it in real life. This is what Jesus did. He gave the Sermon on the Mount, and then immediately after began healing people. A message is better communicated when it is not only said, but lived as well.

5. Learn to Listen Better.

When people see a status they disagree with, they’re quick to state their opinions in the comments. But this disables us from listening. In real life, we have to wait our turn to speak, but with comments, we simply have to scroll down. This is how some articles and discussions online can get so out of control—people refuse to listen and instead turn the subject into something entirely different.

Rather than being quick to voice your opinion, digest the words you’re reading first. Offer a thoughtful response only after listening.

6. Avoid Stirring the Pot With the Articles You Share.

Many Christians like to stir the pot with the articles they share on hot-button issues. But I would urge you to monitor how many articles you share that simply agree with your ideology. When you do this, you can run into the danger of making your beliefs purely about arguing opinions rather than living for Christ, which is a bad message to send to unbelievers.

You don’t need to stir the pot to show people Christ; you just need to live and love like Him.

7. No Racist Comments.

You Might Also Like

This one is obvious, but apparently needs to be said. Just because your friends on social media share your same values doesn’t mean you can say whatever you want to them. The truth is, when you’re on social media, you’re not only speaking to your friends—you’re speaking to the world. And one thing the world needs less of is words to perpetuate stereotypes and racial hatred.

8. Avoid Being Mean to Bloggers.

Social media is not an outlet where you can be mean to others because you don’t agree with them. If we don’t like a person’s art, we should be constructively sharpening them to think better, but we shouldn’t be tearing them down. Art is a personal thing, and you’re tearing at a person’s soul every time you choose to condemn their work instead of sharpen it. Instead, push them to be better in gentle ways.

Social media is a dangerous territory, but it’s possible to live like Jesus in midst of its complications. The key is to relinquish the false sense of power that fools us into thinking we can do whatever we want online, and instead pick up the love and character of Jesus Christ to shape our words. In the end, it’s those words that’ll make a difference.

Top Comments

Allen Jerkins

1

Jon Owen

5

Jon Owen commented…

So glad to see an article embracing the use of online media! I really appreciate the number of points supporting good and kind discourse online. I think if Christians embodied that well, our world would improve. When I've been in Internet comment environments that are often caustic (*cough* youtube *cough*), but see a certain channel change that environment for good, and use their comment section to drive thought and conversation instead of vitriol and trolling, it's really a powerful and useful medium.

I would push back though about number 6 however. While this might not be the intention of the article, I feel like 'stirring the pot' in many Christian contexts I've been in has been code for politicizing things, or participating in what might be seen as primarily political conversations (posting articles revolving around feministic thought, perspectives towards taxation, health care, free speech, race relations and dynamics, etc.) and I've seen it as a way of trying to shut down Christ followers from participating in thing Jesus would have very well cared deeply about, but being 'overly political', much of modern American church culture disengages from simply for being 'political'. I don't think that is a helpful message.

I think when a Christian is posting an article that agrees with their ideology, but maybe pushes back against common ideology in Christian culture that they see as poisonous or bad, if their desire is to start conversation and enact change in a good way they shouldn't be held to limit themselves. Obviously, oversharing in general is another thing, as well as posting something just to troll, but I don't think that's what this point seems to illustrate, and that's why Edge rank and 'see less' functions exist.

All that to say, I think it's important for us as Christians not to use 'stirring the pot' as a catch-all to silence messages that have merit to spread, especially if it's for the benefit of the oppressed or marginalized Jesus cares for so much.

6 Comments

Jon Owen

5

Jon Owen commented…

So glad to see an article embracing the use of online media! I really appreciate the number of points supporting good and kind discourse online. I think if Christians embodied that well, our world would improve. When I've been in Internet comment environments that are often caustic (*cough* youtube *cough*), but see a certain channel change that environment for good, and use their comment section to drive thought and conversation instead of vitriol and trolling, it's really a powerful and useful medium.

I would push back though about number 6 however. While this might not be the intention of the article, I feel like 'stirring the pot' in many Christian contexts I've been in has been code for politicizing things, or participating in what might be seen as primarily political conversations (posting articles revolving around feministic thought, perspectives towards taxation, health care, free speech, race relations and dynamics, etc.) and I've seen it as a way of trying to shut down Christ followers from participating in thing Jesus would have very well cared deeply about, but being 'overly political', much of modern American church culture disengages from simply for being 'political'. I don't think that is a helpful message.

I think when a Christian is posting an article that agrees with their ideology, but maybe pushes back against common ideology in Christian culture that they see as poisonous or bad, if their desire is to start conversation and enact change in a good way they shouldn't be held to limit themselves. Obviously, oversharing in general is another thing, as well as posting something just to troll, but I don't think that's what this point seems to illustrate, and that's why Edge rank and 'see less' functions exist.

All that to say, I think it's important for us as Christians not to use 'stirring the pot' as a catch-all to silence messages that have merit to spread, especially if it's for the benefit of the oppressed or marginalized Jesus cares for so much.

Marisa Olage

2

Marisa Olage commented…

17"Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE," says the Lord. "AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you. 2 Corinthians 6:17

God created this world but it is not our home. Today majority do not live by Jesus word (BIBLE). I have recently learned this and I have to say its true but its hard but it must be done. We should not be listening to music that talks about sex and drugs. Post only things that glorify god and speak his truth. Not false information. People need to know what the bible says and means. We must read the bible ourselves to know His true word.

Gail A. Williams

1

Gail A. Williams commented…

What would you suggest for a Born Again Christian, who would like to interact with other Christians on social media, and not quite sure how to go about it, as they are relatively new to this communications medium?

keren

6

keren commented…

Social media today is very influential to everyone, but can find info quickly but also we could say hello to everyone in cyberspace.
http://resepmasakanenak.blog.com/
http://masakanmantap.tumblr.com/
http://dasarbungul.blogspot.com/

J Richard Kirkham BSc

1

J Richard Kirkham BSc commented…

Please consider this for your next article

Why Christian Social Sites Are failing written by Rick Kirkham

I have a list of Christian social media groups. Half of them no longer exist. Then I received an email that yet another popular Christian social site was closing. The owner stated hosting and other expenses to be the cause. So I started looking at Christian social sites and noticed a high percentage of them all have something in common:

http://www.godsbusinessway.com/index.php/topic,12874.msg13138.html#msg13138

https://twitter.com/GodsBusinessWay

Please log in or register to comment

Log In